TAKE A STAND (helpful hints)

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SCOLL (Secrets and Confessions of Lemonade Lovers) is the brainchild of my child, Luna (with, ya know, a suggestion here or there from elsewhere). It is a Lemonade Stand on a heavily traversed bike path that gives away lemonade as part of a larger project which, for lack of a better name, one might call revolution...or maybe it's just evolution.  We're still working out those details.


THE STAND is a lemonade stand and internet project which is Taking a Stand: A Stand for Freedom! A Stand for Compassion!

We're making compassion out of guilt!
We're making revelations out of secrets!
We are making punch lines out of confessions!

Those are some pretty lofty promises, I know. So how, pray tell, do we propose to counter the effects of human nature and capitalism, while embracing the very essence of both? Why, by giving it all away, of course.

By GIVING AWAY the lemonade AND the secrets and confessions.

By GIVING you a REASON and an OPPORTUNITY to give away the guilt and the shame.

By exposing the soft underbelly that is all of humanity; that web of guilt and pain and humor and hunger that drives and paralyzes us all ...
...and washing it down with some sugah


We're giving away lemonade. In exchange we ask that the recipient of our elixir write an anonymous secret and deposit it into our confessional box. Absolution that quenches your thirst and your conscience...yup, let the evolution begin!


THE STAND gives people an excuse to give something of themselves. And what makes it even more attractive is that what they are giving is a piece of themselves. A piece of themselves that just maybe they don't feel safe sharing with most people. And we will take it, hold it and not hurt them with it...ever.

On one hand what is being played out is the very essence of community: an excuse to give something, to share something, to be a part of something larger than oneself. But what is being shared is anonymous and potentially shameful and secret. Our stand provides a communal interaction from which everyone can walk away completely unscathed but a little less unknown, forever. ... and then revisit through the safe grille of the internet...


The question I've heard over and over is how influential was PostSecrets?   Well, some, I suppose.  I have heard a part of a Frank Warren interview (The Secret Lives of Men and Women: A PostSecret Book ) on NPR and was really intrigued by the premise of his work.  But I have yet to pick up any of his books and only recently visited his website.   Nonetheless, it is out there as part of the cultural unconscious and it would be niave to believe it hasn't  informed our project on some level.   It has even crossed my mind to pick up one of the books he has published to share at our lemonade stand.  I just haven't had time!

But long before I had heard about Frank Warren's work, I had the express pleasure of watching an art installment called the "Portable Confessional Unit"  (PCU) at an Art and Music festival in Seattle, called Bumbershoot.  My understanding of the premise of the project was that many people in contempory society do not have a forum in which to release their shame ridden, darker thoughts.  The consequence is that people carry around a lot of baggage, to put it mildly.  Traditional forms of  forgiveness and compassion are seen as obsolete by many, yet nothing has stepped in to fill the void. The result is, well, us.   The artists, speaking to this void in society, built and then staffed 3 confessional pods. Here is how the artists behind the project articulate their work:  http://vital5productions.com/pdl/pdl_pcu.html

A few years later some of these same artists put out a compilation of "recipes" in The Vital 5 Cookbook which span, and I quote from Amazon, "performance, installation, traditional exhibition and the outer limits of self expression."  One of the first recipes involved a phone booth, an answering machine and a confession.  I loved the idea, although I never enacted it myself.  As a matter of fact, I never went into the PCU, either.  There's probably something in that for me, wanting to be on this side of the confession and the secret...but that's another story for another blog.

So these ideas about secrets and confessions were rolling around in my head when my daughter, Luna, said she wanted to have a lemonade stand this summer.  She had had a lemonade stand a few years earlier to raise money for World Wildlife Foundation.  It turned out to be a very interesting experience.  Rather than charge for the lemonade, she gave it away.  She told people if they wanted, they could donated money to WWF, but the lemonade was free.  Underscore FREE.  To say that people were thrown off guard at first would be an understatement, but most got on board with the idea in fairly short order, enjoyed some lemonade and realized that they became a part of something.  My daughter collected 53 bucks for WWF in less than 3 hours.  For a 6 year old, that's not bad. 

But the real lesson she learned was multipronged.  My daughter learned how great it felt to give.  And she saw that if you give people an opportunity to give not only will they give, they will do so generously and be grateful for the opportunity.  She learned that if you give what you can, and you take what you need, and you work together, you can make the world a better place. As this little experiment was being conducted in a semi affluent, fairly liberal enclave in Seattle, it worked. 

The Other World Wildlife Foundation

At the heart of this project is the idea that we all have secrets. We live in a time where we are bombarded by options and opportunities, a time where the lines of right and wrong can be blurred, twisted and manipulated to suit any purpose. The business of growing up and gaining a sense of right and wrong is left to those with little experience and even less understanding.

Certainly secrets, shame and stigma play an important role in maintaining a civil society. Afterall, we don't want all the crazed lemonade lovers on the bike path acting out their bizarre lemonade fantasies in public, but what about the former lemonade lover?  Is that person forever doomed to wear the letter "L" on their bike jersey?   Should the bikerattzi forever give the "L" wearer a wide berth on the trail?   Snarkiness aside, I'll granted you that evil does exist and shadowy characters will always require a direct look and a wide berth, but most secrets are not the products of compulsive sociopathic illness.

The question becomes; at what point do shame and stigma stop serving their purpose and rather than paralyzing the behavior morph into paralyzing the person?   

Hence the need for a modern confessional.  A place where people can let go of the secrets that no longer serve a purpose.  Not to an entity outside themselves who bestows forgiveness (who of us is qualified to do that?) but released from inside, unlocked and let go...anonymously; because the old adage is true:  Friends wouldn't care and enemies wouldn't understand.  We don't purport to actually be a modern confessional, but we thought we could help move the ball along .... with a little sugah.